Julius Genachowski

Ex-FCC boss: I won't be lobbying for Carlyle

January 6, 2014: 12:12 PM ET

Why did The Carlyle Group hire Julius Genachowski?

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FORTUNE -- Julius Genachowski today began work as a managing director at private equity firm The Carlyle Group (CG),  eight months after stepping down as chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

No big surprise that Genachowski is taking a job in the investing world, given that he has previously served as a special advisor to General Atlantic and co-founder of Rock Creek Ventures. He also spent eight years as chief of business operations and general counsel at IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI).

So this is really a private-to-public-to-private, rather than a career government official cashing in. But the move already has generated a series of "revolving door" accusations on Twitter, as if Genachowski took the FCC job in order to polish his resume for a big private equity firm like Carlyle.

Sounds ridiculous to me, but I still raised the issue this morning in a brief phone call with Genachowski. His reply:

"For me this is a return to the private sector, and my complete focus will be on buying and investing in companies rather than dealing with government issues… In the coming years at Carlyle I expect to be involved in a number of exciting transactions where I'll have a chance to put to work the full range of my experiences over the last 20 years."

I'm not so naive as to think that Carlyle won't bend Genachowski's ear if it runs into an FCC-related issue, but this particular firm already has plenty of lobbyists and government relations professionals who can push its agenda on Capitol Hill. If Carlyle really wanted Genachowski for influence rather than investing, it would have given him some sort of part-time title -- not made him a partner on its U.S. buyout team.

No decisions have been made yet on if Genachowski will join the boards of any existing Carlyle portfolio companies in the tech, media and telecom space.

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